Quality of Life

Dining

Although famous for cheese steaks and soft pretzels, Greater Philadelphia also offers many more culinary delights than these staples. The region has a thriving restaurant scene offering everything from traditional American meals to diverse ethnic fare to refined haute cuisine. We've got cheap eats and gourmet meals, indoor bistros and outdoor cafés, restaurants with extensive wine lists and those that are bring-your-own-bottle.

Cheese Steak Philadelphia knows sandwiches, and the famous Philly cheese steak stands alone in this region. Cheese steaks were invented here in the 1930s and have become deeply embedded in the culture of the region. Even ordering the delectable sandwich has evolved into somewhat of an art form. Dueling Pat's King of Steaks and Geno's, perhaps the most renowned cheese steak eateries, are located right across the street from each other in South Philadelphia. The famed competitors are open 24 hours a day and draw crowds of locals and out-of-towners. Philadelphians are very particular about which they prefer and allegiances do not sway easily – you'll probably establish your own loyalties too! And if you are on South Street, don't leave without stopping at Jim's Steaks, another Philly institution. If you looking for a place to watch the game, head to one of several Chickie's & Pete's for some of their famous crab fries. And don't forget to check out Melrose Diner, a south Philly mainstay that has been open 24/7 since 1935.

As a region known for multiculturalism, Greater Philadelphia has a vast number of ethnic restaurants. Any time you crave Thai, Chinese, Japanese, West African, North African, Cuban or food from any other country or culture, we have you covered. For superior Moroccan food, look no further than Marrakesh, off of South Street in Philadelphia. Lounge on pillows as the food keeps coming and coming in this traditional seven-course, fixed-price meal. Head out to West Philly and into East Africa for Dahlak, an Eritrean restaurant where diners sit around low circular tables and each party eats off of communal plates. Look to Chinatown for high quality Asian eateries such as the Malaysian Penang, or out to Chestnut Hill for CinCin, a refined Chinese restaurant with a French flair.

If you're craving a more extravagant dining experience, you will be happy to know that Greater Philadelphia is nationally known as a culinary hotspot. With so many blue-ribbon establishments, it's hard to focus on just a few.

Le Bec-Fin in Center City Philadelphia is truly a luxurious dining experience. Seeped in the tradition of Louis XVI, Le Bec-Fin's exquisite decor and overall ambiance are perfect compliments to the restaurant's spectacular French cuisine. Savona, which specializes in French and Italian cuisine, is another outstanding Greater Philadelphia establishment. Savona is located in Gulph Mills, Montgomery County, and offers seasonally changing menus along with mouth-watering pastries and desserts. Meals at Le Bec-Fin and Savona are costly, but go ahead and indulge yourself!

Buddakan, a chic restaurant and bar in Old City Philadelphia, is definitely a favorite nightspot. A 10-foot Buddha watches over the dining room, adding panache to the modish establishment. Sample their fabulous modern Asian cuisine or just stop in for a cocktail at their bar. Nearby Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, whose interior resembles 1940s Havana, is popular for dinner, drinks and dancing. Contemporary and traditional Latin dishes decorate the menu, and no Cuba Libre experience is complete without a famous mojito.

Due to strict liquor licensing laws, a crop of restaurants has sprung up in Philadelphia unlike anywhere else. Referred to as BYOs (which stands for “bring your own”) these are often small restaurants where the owner greets you at the door and the chef comes to your table to explain the dessert tray. At these places, you bring the wine and they provide the glasses. Try Matyson for eclectic American cuisine or La Viola for traditional Italian, complete with sidewalk tables and Italian-speaking waiters. Both restaurants are in the Rittenhouse Square area. Have a hankering for a margarita? Bring a bottle of tequila to El Azteca and they'll make one for you, served right along with their no-frills Mexican cuisine.

You can find even more fine dining at the historic Eagle Tavern in Chester County. Their extensive menu, decorative wallpaper and deep wood panels make the dining room at the tavern feel cozy and warm. Luigi Vitrone's Pastabilities is a popular eatery in Little Italy in Wilmington, Delaware. The restaurant is set in a two-story row house and, as soon as you step inside, you'll feel as though you're in an old friend's kitchen. All of the pastas and pastries are homemade in this cozy Italian retreat. Moving into the New Jersey suburbs you'll want to sample the menu at Food For Thought, in Marlton, Burlington County. Enjoy a lovely lunch or a romantic dinner with entrees and appetizers that are as delicious as they are artistic. Best of all, Food For Thought is also BYOB.

If you prefer to cook for yourself, then check out the Italian Market in South Philadelphia. It is the oldest and largest working outdoor market in the United States. With over 100 merchants, this open-air market is teeming with pastas, fresh meats and produce, oils and various baked goods. Or there's the delightful Reading Terminal Market right in the middle of Center City. The market, which first opened in 1892, has long been a part of the city's heritage and holds a special place in the hearts of Philadelphians. More than 85 merchants set up shop here, and the historic market overflows with fresh produce, Italian grocers, bakeries, Amish specialties and vendors selling jewelry and pottery.

Greater Philadelphia is the place for endless dining extravaganzas. Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner, we aim to please and always impress. Come see what's on the menu, and make sure you're hungry!

 
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